Ramsgate 0-1 Sittingbourne - Lovell gives trialists time to impress - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Saturday 22nd July 2006

Pre-Season Friendly
Saturday 22nd July 2006
Stephen McCartney reports from Southwood Stadium

Sittingbourne manager Steve Lovell will cast his eyes over his trialists for at least another week after his side stole a 1-0 victory at Ryman Premier League new boys Ramsgate today.

Having lost strikers Bradley Spice to league rivals Dover Athletic and with Mark Lovell on trial at Nationwide Conference full-time outfit Gravesend & Northfleet, trialist Dan Bonneywell did his chances no harm by scoring the only goal of the game with just three minutes remaining.

The striker, on as a half-time substitute to partner another trialist Dave Norris up front, kept his composure after his initial shot was beaten out by substitute goalkeeper Danny Twyman, to slot home into an empty net.

Earlier, on the stroke of half time, Rams’ had goalkeeper Jurgen Wild to thank, saving Jon Neal’s right-footed penalty.

Ramsgate went into the game unbeaten, having defeated Chatham Town by two goals to one seven days ago, and holding a young Gillingham side to a goal-less draw on Thursday night.

With manager Jim Ward returning from his two-week holiday on Sunday evening, his assistant manager, and brother Danny, was in charge.

And he was pleased with his sides first half display, which they dominated against their Ryman League Division One South visitors.

The Rams, who have won two titles in the past two years, created a whole host of chances, the first coming after just 72 seconds when James Gregory’s left-footed free kick from 22-yards was chipped over the bar.

Lovell used three goalkeepers during the 90 minutes with Steve Williams impressing and making a couple of top-drawer saves.

However, he was replaced at the break by Rob Hudson, who made way for Rob Kelly with fifteen minutes left.

Former Brickie, David Cory was denied by Williams, who tipped his shot against the crossbar and out for a corner.

Michael Yianni, who saw plenty of the ball, then sent in a far post corner and Shaun Welford’s volley just missed the target.

Ramsgate officials confirmed before the game that striker Steffan Ball, whose a school teacher, is taking a year out to travel around the world.

Sittingbourne’s Lee Browning saw his volley fly high over Ramsgate’s crossbar after the ball came to him after Lee Hockey’s long throw into the area was dealt with by the home side’s defence.

And it was the 21st minute when Warren Schulz met Cory’s cross with a powerful header at the near post, but Williams was there to tip the ball over.

Ramsgate created - and missed - numerous chances and they almost paid the price in the 41st minute.

Andy Law (Lovell wasn’t too sure what the striker’s surname was and relying on his team-mates calling him “Lawsey”) got in front of Ramsgate’s summer signing from Cheshunt Ryan Bernard, and was tripped just inside the penalty area, which resulted in Herne Bay referee Mr Mick McCoy pointing to the spot.

But Neal’s right-footed penalty, which was heading towards the bottom left hand corer, was held by Wild down by that post.

On the stroke of half-time, Hockey’s long-range drive flashed past a diving Wild and also past the far post.

Lovell made numerous changes at the break with only Joe Dowley, Paul Ainsworth and Clint Gooding continuing.

Ramsgate, who made four changes at the break, also looked at a number of trialists, a couple not wearing shirt numbers.

Ainsworth, meanwhile, escaped a 58th minute penalty appeal, having brought down a Rams’ substitute, who latched onto a defence splitting pass from Lee Minshull.

Sittingbourne’s best chance after the interval came when Charlie Belcher played the ball over the top for Bonneywell to latch onto, but he was denied by an advancing Twyman, sticking out one arm to punch the ball out for a corner.

But both sides had chances to break the deadlock before that moment came with just three minutes remaining, getting the Brickies off to a winning start.

Rams’ assistant Danny Ward, meanwhile, revealed he substituted three players due to slight knocks and they’ll miss their next two games - at home to Deal Town on Tuesday night and against Mike Robbins’ Rye United in seven days time.

Bernard (foot), Warren Schulz (foot) and Shane Suter (knee) will not be risked.

Sittingbourne though, travel to Kent Leaguers Whitstable Town on Tuesday night and host another Kent League side in Faversham Town at Bourne Park on Saturday.

Lovell, meanwhile, admitted he was pleased with his side’s fitness, having had around 12 training sessions since reporting back to pre-season training 22 days ago.

He will, however, be keeping tabs on his trialists for at least another week.

One player looking to impress the Welshman was Sabeur Trabelsi.

Born on 18th February 1984, the right sided midfielder is Tunisian, and as of 2004 was playing for Etoile Sport du Sahel.

He was a member of the Tunisian 2004 Olympic football team, who exited in the first round, finishing third in Group C, behind group and gold medal winners Argentina and Australia.

Speaking in an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with www.kentishfootballl.co.uk, Lovell revealed: “You’ve got to be fair to the trialists, who are tying to impress.

“Over one half of one game you can’t really make decisions, you have to give them a real chance.

“So there’s one or two who have come out on top and I’m really impressed with and one or two who have to push on and show me a little bit more.

“I’ll give them another go and see what happens in the next week.”

Lovell has signed on all of last season’s squad, with only his son Mark and Bradley Spice having left the club.

“I’d be working on a squad of around 18-19 players,” said Lovell. “I’ve signed about 14 players so there will be places for another three or four maybe.”

Sittingbourne tackle two newly promoted sides in their opening two league fixtures - a home game against Godalming Town (19th August) before a trip to Horsham YMCA the following Tuesday.

When asked what he knows about those two teams, Lovell replied: “I haven’t got a clue! I think they’ve come up from their respective leagues last year and we’ve got them first two games of the season.

“I don’t know much, I’m more concerned about my boys and the way that we progress.”

But Lovell is relishing this season’s league, having joined the more lucrative Ryman League Division One South from the Southern League.

What are Lovell’s aims for this season? “Better than last year!,” he said. “I think we’d be better individually. Collectively, as a team, we’re good lads but I think we need to individually look after ourselves and look at our own game and have confidence in each other and not only in each other, but in themselves.

“I’ve got confidence in them and sometimes last year we lacked a little bit of self belief.”

Looking ahead to their Kentish derbies, their first one at home is against Dover Athletic on Bank Holiday Monday, 28th August, Lovell said: “It can only be good for the club because we’re playing a lot of local sides and there’s a lot less travelling and more gates so hopefully we can use that to our advantage.

“Every manager says the same thing at the start of the season, that’s you’d like to finish top and go up into the next league, but as we showed last year circumstances happened.

“We lost players to injuries and suspensions and not having a big squad you paid the price.

“Hopefully we’ll have strength in depth. We’ll have a nucleus of boys but you can only have so many boys because other boys will want to go and play.

“It’s difficult but hopefully we’ll have boys who want to stay on and come and work for me."

www.kentishfootball.co.uk shall bring you EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS with Ramsgate's assistant manager Danny Ward and chairman Richard Lawson later as they look forward to their Ryman Premier League campaign.

Ramsgate: Jurgen Wild, Edd Vahid, James Gregory, Liam Morris, Ollie Schulz, Ryan Bernard, Michael Yianni, Warren Schulz, Shaun Welford, Lee Minshull, David Cory:

Subs: Danny Twyman, Karl Barron, Kieron Morris, Simon Pettit, Shane Suter, Nick Bagley, Ashley Burton, Graham Taylor, Gavin Schulz, Mark Munday.

Goals: -


First Half: Steve Williams, Lee Hockey, Joe Dowley, Paul Ainsworth, Charlie Belcher, Kieron Marsh, Ricky Spiller, Clint Gooding, Jon Neal, Andy Law, Lee Browning.

Second Half: Rob Hudson (Rob Kelly 76), Matt Nicholls, Joe Dowley, James Campbell, Paul Ainsworth, Sabeur Trabelsi, Yomi Dada, Clint Gooding, Mitchell Sherwood, Dave Norris, Dan Bonneywell.

Goals: Dan Bonneywell 87

Substitutions for both sides not listed.

Referee: Mr Mick McCoy (Herne Bay)
Assistants: Mr Keith Stone (Ramsgate) & Mr Mark Takacs (Broadstairs)